Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1185..
MR STEFANIAK: On the point of order: I am not raising issues relating to the bushfire inquiry, Mr Speaker. I merely point out that the government seems to be scared of accountability. I leave it at that. It is a one-line point.
Mr Corbell, I will go on. There have been a number of instances now where the government seems to be closing up and putting a blanket over what it is doing, contrary to its approach in 2001 and 2002. This is another example. By using it as a rubber stamp, the government is making a joke of the estimates committee.
Why do you not have the guts to let it run? You did it last year. It has been done in the past. Previous governments have done it. See what comes out of the process. Surely it is not going to be so horrendous as to cause you that much grief. Have an open and proper process. It is going to come out anyway. If you have a truncated rubber-stamped report, it just makes a joke of the process.
The evidence will still come out in the estimates committee, one would hope, unless you are going to try to railroad it so much that no proper evidence comes out there. That would be an absolute travesty. In a place like this it will come out in the wash one way or another. To have a rubber-stamp estimates committee just makes a mockery of the system. You need to wake up to yourselves.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.12): I rise to speak to the amendment, not to close the debate, Mr Speaker. Minister Corbell is a joke if he thinks that this government is honest and accountable. This is from the minister who is afraid to face the committee because of what he will have to answer. You, sir, are a joke, as is the Stanhope government. This is the most appalling travesty of process the ACT has ever seen. This government is a joke of a government.
Mr Corbell says that the government has more members and therefore should have more seats on the committee. Let's look at who is available. None of the ministers can sit on this committee, unless Minister Corbell thinks that ministers should be scrutinising their own budgets. It is Mr Corbell's sense of accountability, fairness and being open to the public that the government should, by rights, be able to put the five ministers and the Speaker, who also has an appropriation, onto the committee. That is his justification. If they want it, that is how they will take it. That is why they should get three seats.
The reality is that only three members of the government and the one from the crossbench can reasonably sit on this committee. In theory, the seven members of the opposition could sit on this committee and we could have a ratio of three government members to seven opposition members and one crossbench member. The minister thinks that that means that he can have three, the opposition can have two and the crossbench can have one.
The day of the 2004 election there was under big headlines a statement from the Chief Minister that there was nothing to fear from majority government. Perhaps the Chief Minister, the minister for human rights, the minister for equity and equality, will come down and tell us that this is fair. Jon Stanhope, come down and tell us that this is fair and justify it. I would like to hear the Chief Minister justify what his government is doing.